The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today deplored the killing of Brazilian journalist and bloggerDécio Sá, who was killed in the city of Sao Luis on 23 April.
“I denounce the murder of Décio Sá,” the Director-General said. “This crime constitutes a serious attack on the basic human right of freedom of expression and its corollary, press freedom. I trust that the perpetrators of this attack will be brought to justice. Journalists must be supported in their mission to sustain informed public debate in the interest of democracy and rule of law.”
Décio Sá, 42, was shot dead by an unidentified man in a bar in the northeast Brazilian city of Sao Luis while waiting for a friend. The Committee to Protect Journalists quotes reports claiming that the murder bore the marks of a contract killing.
Sá was writing for the local O Estado doMaranhão newspaper. He also published a popular personal blog,Blog do Décio. According to CPJ, the blog was known for its reporting on cases of corruption.
A total of nine journalists and media workers, includingDécio Sá, have been killed in Brazil since 2009. They are listed on the dedicated webpage, UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists.
In 2011, UNESCO conducted a research project on the characteristics and functions of community media operating in violent or difficult areas in Rio de Janeiro. The research results are intended to help community media professionals improve both the quality of their work and their safety. In 2010, UNESCO organized workshops for 80 community radio professionals from three parts of Brazil including the often neglected Amazon forest region.
Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12
UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”